Given this is the golden age of “adult entertainment,” it’s impressive that Playboy still has street credit and that being a Playboy Playmate means something in 2015. This list celebrates the greatest Playmates of all time.
How do you pick the best from such an amazing group? It wasn’t easy. The formula was based on beauty and x-factor as well as celebrity status. Celebrity status didn’t always help you, though.
Which gorgeous Playmates didn’t make the list? Hiromi Oshima was one of the few blondes that caught the eye of Hugh Hefner, that’s enough for an honorable mention. How about Robin Givens, remember her? She was Mike Tyson’s sweetheart and then she wasn’t. Kim Kardashian did Playboy after her sex tape, but quite honestly, enough with Kim. She didn’t make the list. It may be cold in Canada, but they do make great looking blondes; Jayde Nicole was a prime example of that! Finally, Jayne Mansfield graced the cover and pages of Playboy in 1963. She was the definition of sexy during her time and was Miss February in 1955. She didn’t make the list, which tells you how competitive this group is.
We have movie stars, models and of course, a link to Charlie Sheen. Are you ready? Here are the 15 hottest Playboy Playmates of all time.
15. Cindy Crawford
Some place Crawford as their all-time number one while others wouldn’t put her on the list. Me? I guess she is number 15 for me. I think it’s the beauty mark on her cheek that moves her up or down on the rankings. For many it was her 1988 Playboy debut where she decided to take it all off that made them fans for life. Given she had been modeling clothes (and swimsuits) up to that point, it was a welcome change for those looking to catch a glimpse of more. Crawford would appear again in Playboy in 1996 and 1998.
14. Shannon Tweed
Let’s just get this out of the way: Tweed loses points for being married to the Director of KISS Merchandising, Gene Simmons. Despite this relationship, she is still one of the greatest Playmates ever. In the eighties Tweed was the soft-core queen, which for teenagers back then was essentially what hard-core stuff is for teens today. It was different, simpler times where staying up late and sneaking into the living room (the only one that had the TV with Cinemax) to watch Tweed get topless and grind it out between (or on to top of) the sheets in some “after dark” movie. She appeared in Playboy in 1982, a wonderful jumpstart to a late night movie career through her prime, or until she met Mean Gene.
13. Marilyn Monroe
Some of the Playmates on this list appeared many times and others had stunning shoots that stuck in the minds of viewers forever. For Monroe, this was about star power and creating a major buzz. It’s hard to find a Playmate bigger than this American Icon. The fifties sex symbol was gorgeous and brought a special charisma that carried through the big screen as well as the pages of Playboy. This was no “skirt” blowing over the subway grates shot. This was full Marilyn, the woman that real men (i.e. guys that smoked pipes) dreamed about seeing naked. Playboy made their dreams come true.
12. Sharon Stone
There was a time when Sharon Stone was “the” actress and a lot of this was due to her beauty. Today most remember her appearance in Basic Instinct; you know, the movie where she shows her crotch? (You know). What many may not realize is that her big break was in a movie two years earlier, in 1990 when she appeared in Total Recall. Many went to see the film because Stone had also timed her first appearance in Playboy just prior to the release of the film. Genius! Stone would go on to appear again in Playboy in 1992, by then she was a huge star; it wasn’t so much about marketing as it was just for kicks.
11. Denise Richards
I think most of us who see the word “Playmates” the title of an article can assume somewhere, somehow Charlie Sheen’s name is going to appear. In 2004, Richards appeared in Playboy, and it was just five months after she had given birth to their daughter. Richards looked unbelievable and even though Mr. Sheen has had plenty of lookers since, you have to wonder if Richards was the one that got away and has tormented him since, causing his erratic behavior and downward spiral. Even today both stay current in the gossip rags by bashing each other and openly discussing who is the worse parent of the two – Sheen should know better, that’s no way to treat a Playboy Playmate.
10. Jenny McCarthy
McCarthy knew how to climb the Playboy ladder. She first appeared in the magazine back in 1994, then emerged as a Playmate in 1996, and then parlayed her “girl next door status” into hosting an MTV show named Singled Out. McCarthy proved to not only have the looks, but also a sense of humor that fit well with the MTV generation. During the nineties McCarthy was a Playboy favorite, appearing in 1994, twice in 1996, and 1997. She would return in 2005 and in July of 2012. She did her last shoot at the age of 39, making it six in total.
9. Stacey Dash
Stacey Dash is most known for her role as an actress in the movie Clueless as well as the television show of the same name. She created quite a stir when she appeared in Playboy because it was unexpected. Some girls are more “what took her so long?” Others, “I thought she already did Playboy.” Still others fit in the “I didn’t see that coming” category. Dash was the latter, a far cry from her fashion-conscious self she portrayed on the big and small screen.
8. Ursula Andress
Known as Bond girl Honey Rider, Ursula Andress was one of the biggest sex symbols of the sixties. In 1965 she first appeared in Playboy and kicked off a ritual that many Bond girls would follow. Of course, few were able to top Andress and her sexy spread. Also, no one has come close to giving a better reason why. When Andress was asked why she appeared in Playboy she stated simply, “Because I’m beautiful.” Not that anyone who saw her in the white bikini in Dr. No really needed to see more, but I think we can all agree the world is a better place because of it.
7. Kim Basinger
Basinger wasn’t a major celebrity when she did Playboy in 1983. She was an up and coming actress who hadn’t had a whole lot of success, but was now a Bond girl. For the movie Never Say Never Again, Basinger played opposite Sean Connery. Playboy, who at this point was very into Bond girls, did a special feature and even pulled in Connery himself. The rest is a history of big movies, big tabloid stories and legendary status. Had Basinger not gotten the extra public relations push from Playboy, she would not have experienced all her success. Okay, that’s probably not true, but you can’t prove it’s not true either.
6. Elle Macpherson
Given Macpherson’s status as super model, worldwide sex symbol and nickname “The Body,” how many times did Playboy call? If she resisted I assume at least one thousand times. In 1994, Playboy got Macpherson to pose. The cover was Macpherson with only the words Elle and Playboy. She was only wearing pantyhose; the pose was a take on the Brigitte Bardot picture from the sixties. She did it so well I’m sure someone will now be trying to copy Macpherson’s Playboy cover. Of course, they won’t be nicknamed “The Body.” That’s reserved for Macpherson and ex-wrestlers-turned-governors from Minnesota named Jessie Ventura.
5. Bo Derek
Derek is most known for her role in the movie 10, but she has quite the Playboy following thanks to her five shoots in the eighties. She was the fantasy girl during this time and capitalized, appearing in Playboy twice in 1980, once in 1981, once in 1984 and once in 1994. She even posed as a cowboy sucking a cigar. Was this the inspiration for the nineties White House hi-jinx? We will have to get Bill Clinton really drunk to get that answer, but what we do know is that Monica Lewinsky was no Bo Derek. We don’t need a court ruling to prove that.
4. Rachel Hunter
The Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and ex-wife of Rod Stewart turned down Playboy the first time they asked. The year was 1986 and she had just started modeling at only 17 years of age. Fast forward a few years and in 2004 she finally said yes, and many would agree she was more beautiful than ever. It was also around this time she appeared as the hot MILF in the video for “Stacy’s Mom.” Hunter continues to get hotter with age; the only question I have is how many more appearances will she make in Playboy and when is her next photo shoot?
3. Carmen Electra
During the nineties there was a popular game call Marry, F@%!, Kill and Carmen Electra probably broke the record for the most F@%!s; that’s how popular she was. For Playboy, it was a big deal when she agreed, appearing in both the 2003 and 2009 issues. The latter was a big moment because she was picked for the 55th anniversary issue. She got the cover which was a very big deal. Known as a super model and spouse to both Dennis Rodman and musician Dave Navarro, her spreads in Playboy brought her worldwide fame and placed her as one of the greatest Playmates of all time.
2. Dita Von Teese
Sometimes being a Playmate can make you famous. In the December 2002 issue, Dita Von Teese appeared in Playboy. Dita Von Teese wasn’t her actual name – she pulled the name out of a phonebook. She would eventually keep her fame going by having a relationship with Marilyn Manson, but it was Playboy where she met real fame. What makes her appearance perfect is how she got there. This “perfect 10” was inspired to be a model after looking through her father’s Playboy magazines. Just another reason to keep Playboys around; not only are they nice eye candy, they provide inspiration for the kids.
1. Pamela Anderson
Did you really expect anyone else? Anderson was literally made for Playboy. The blonde bombshell appeared in the following issues: October 1989, February 1991, July 1992, August 1993, November 1994, January 1996, September 1997, June 1998, February 1999, July 2001, May 2004, January 2007, and January 2011. That’s three decades for anyone keeping track. She has had more Playboy covers than anyone, dated numerous rock stars and had movies based entirely on the premise of meeting her (see: Borat). Anderson has set high standards for future Playmates in both the categories of beauty and longevity. It’s not inconceivable she reaches 4 decades. My suggestion to anyone looking to take over this spot: start young!